In the past two years, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock has just barely outperformed the S&P 500. But investors shouldn't mistake this recent humble performance for an indication of the stock's long-term return. Taking into account Apple's history of stock splits, the stock has absolutely crushed the market.
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Apple store. Image source: Apple.
In order to fully understand Apple stock's long-term return, you can look at its stock split history, as well as the split-adjusted returns for the stock over different periods.
AAPL stock split history
Date shown is the first date shares traded on a split-adjusted basis.
Apple stock's split-adjusted return
Going public at $22 in 1980 and trading at just under $110 at the time of this writing, Apple's stock price today doesn't come close to capturing the enormous return long-term shareholders have seen.
For some context, here's a list of Apple stock's split-adjusted returns for various periods.
To put Apple stock's monstrous split-adjusted return in perspective, consider this: If all dividends were reinvested, $10,000 invested just 10 years ago would be worth more than $130,000 today.
AAPL stock split FAQ
How many times has Apple stock split?
Since Apple went public in 1980, shares have split four times.
When did Apple stock split last?
In June of 2014, Apple stock was split 7-to-1. Whether it was on purpose or not, the split changed Apple stock's pre-split all-time high from a few dollars above $700 to about $100 after accounting for the split.
What is Apple's split-adjusted IPO price?
Apple's initial public offering price was $22. Adjusted for splits, however, the IPO price is $0.39.
Why does Apple split its stock?
Generally, stock splits are purposed to make shares easier to buy for individual investors. This was particularly the case with Apple during its last split, as shares went from trading under $700 to under $100. In a 2014 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook specifically said that the company was splitting its shares to make them more accessible to a larger group of investors.
In the end, however, splitting a stock does nothing for the overall value of a business.
Will Apple stock split again?
This really depends on how shares perform in the future, but it's unlikely to happen anytime soon. Given that when Apple split its shares last, it didn't do it until the stock hit an all-time high of $700, a stock split is probably the last thing on the board's mind with shares currently trading at just under $110.
Apple's stock splits over the years are a testament to its market-crushing return. Without these splits, many individual investors would have a difficult time buying shares today.
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Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.